Thursday 19 April 2012

Taxing Art

While Angela reports on art being destroyed as a protest against budget allocation, in the US, artist Chad Person, in his so-called "Taxcut – Money Art" series, has been destroying money to create art, and to lower his taxable income.

ABC News reports that:

The California-based designer is cutting up dollar bills – actual, paper dollars – to create collages of military weaponry, and then deducting those dollars from his taxable income. As materials for his business, the sliced and diced dollars are exempt from some taxes, thereby lowering Person’s overall tax rate.

"Rather than buying $200 of paint today, I withdrew $200 and chopped it up and turned it into paint essentially," Person said, describing his collages. "It greatly reduces my liability."
As well as reducing his taxes, Person's aim is also said to be to reduce his personal contribution to the government's funding of the military. As stated on his website:

I have destroying money for my work for the past two years. As a professional artist, I deduct my material expenditures as a write off. If I slice up a hundred dollars to make an image, or a thousand, or just five, I am taking it out of the IRS coffers. Imaging the weaponry that I'm not buying with those dollars is a reminder for me that a little creativity can be quite empowering.
ABC reports that to date Person has created about 60 to 70 of these collages, and that although cutting up cash likely amounts to defacing of dollar bills, which is against the law and punishable by a small fine and up to six months in prison, offenders are rarely prosecuted.

So, it seems that cutting up your money to make art might be a legitimate way to reduce your taxable income. On the other hand, if tax avoidance is the aim, it may restrict your ability to profit through your art. Indeed, if you became too successful, certainly in the UK, taxes on the sales of such works would be liable to amount to more than those you had originally saved.

A collection of Person's works can be see

Source: ABC News, 13 April 2012

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